The film is based upon a popular childrens book Stuart Little (1945) written by E.B. White. E.B. White also wrote childrens classics such as Charlottes Web (1952), filmed as Charlottes Web (1973) and Charlottes Web (2006), and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970), filmed as The Trumpet of the Swan (2001). The book is something that, as many purists have been quick to point out, the film takes considerable liberties with.
Rather than the book, the film has taken its cue from Babe (1995) and its integration of animatronic/CGI talking animals into realistic settings. While it may not make the E.B. White purists happy, Stuart Little is a considerable delight. Despite being 100% created within the environment of a computer, Stuart succeeds in completely engaging sympathy over and above his human counterparts. The scenes with he winning his way into the hearts of the family and especially the boat race have plaintive, endearing charms. The scenes in the latter half with the cat conspiracy work less well, as the cats only come across as caricatured animation villains. Here far too much of a reliance on flatulence gags and moron humour tends to spread thin the films earlier delights.
Stuart Little also marked the live-action directorial debut of Rob Minkoff, previously a Disney animator and co-director of The Lion King (1994), who here makes the move over from animation into live-action, a first for an animation director. Stuart Little also marks a return to screens for John Dykstra. Dykstras career has been marked by the one highlight of having spearheaded an effects industry revolution as visual effects supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic on Star Wars (1977) and having done nothing of any distinction since then. It had been the better part of ten years since John Dykstras name had appeared on the credits of a cinematically released film. Stuart Little marks a welcome return to screens for John Dykstra and shows him having adjusted to the new CGI technology with elan. The films effects work is excellent it is impossible to tell, for instance, if the cats are trained animals or CGI effects.
Most of the creative talents involved reunited for the also likeable sequel Stuart Little 2 (2002), This was followed by the animated video-released Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild (2005), as well as the animated tv series Stuart Little (2003).
Director Rob Minkoff next returned to the Disney stables to make the live-action The Haunted Mansion (2003) and then went onto the martial arts adventure The Forbidden Kingdom (2008), the non-genre comedy Flypaper (2011) and the animated Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014).